LIKE CLOCKWORK, Congress takes a look every year at some version of legislation to extend Daylight Saving Time beyond the current period that runs from the last Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October. But this year, supporters of a new effort believe their latest proposal has a better chance than those pressed in recent years. Already it has picked up considerable support from a variety of organizations as well as from the Department of Transportation, which estimates that the proposed change could save oil and reduce traffic fatalities.

Without going into all the ancient history surrounding this issue, this year's proposal would stretch daylight time from the third Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November. That's one more week in the fall. In mid-March, sunrise would occur at about 7 a.m. in the middle of a time zone, which, supporters note, would mean that schoolchildren would not be in the dark on their morning trips.

Why not try it? According to Congressional Quarterly, groups supporting this bill include the Barbecue Industry Association (looking at millions of additional charcoal briquettes that would be used); the American Association of Nurserymen; the Amateur Softball Association; and the National Association of Convenience Stores. With groups like these, how can the proposal miss? Easily, because farmers don't like starting their chores earlier and cows don't know how to tell time. Nevertheless, Congress at least could allow a one-year experiment that would give everyone a chance to mark time and weigh the difference.